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viola1

[vee-oh-luh]
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noun
  1. a four-stringed musical instrument of the violin family, slightly larger than the violin; a tenor or alto violin.
  2. a labial organ stop of eight-foot or four-foot pitch, giving tones of a penetrating stringlike quality.
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Origin of viola1

1715–25; < Italian viola < Old Provençal viola; see viol
Can be confusedviola voilà

viola2

[vahy-oh-luh, vee-, vahy-uh-]
noun
  1. any plant of the genus Viola, especially a cultivated variety.Compare pansy(def 1), violet(defs 1, 2).
  2. a pansy, V. cornuta, cultivated as a garden plant.
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Origin of viola2

1400–50; late Middle English: violet < Latin: violet

Viola

[vahy-oh-luh, vee-, vahy-uh-]
noun
  1. a female given name.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for viola

viola1

noun
  1. a bowed stringed instrument, the alto of the violin family; held beneath the chin when played. It is pitched and tuned an octave above the cello
  2. any of various instruments of the viol family, such as the viola da gamba
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Word Origin

C18: from Italian viola, probably from Old Provençal viola, of uncertain origin; perhaps related to Latin vītulārī to rejoice

viola2

noun
  1. any temperate perennial herbaceous plant of the violaceous genus Viola, the flowers of which have showy irregular petals, white, yellow, blue, or mauve in colourSee also violet (def. 1), pansy (def. 1)
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Word Origin

C15: from Latin: violet
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for viola

n.

tenor violin, 1797, from Italian viola, from Old Provençal viola, from Medieval Latin vitula "stringed instrument," perhaps from Vitula, Roman goddess of joy (see fiddle), or from related Latin verb vitulari "to exult, be joyful." Viola da gamba "bass viol" (1724) is from Italian, literally "a viola for the leg" (i.e. to hold between the legs).

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Viola

fem. proper name, from Latin viola "the violet" (see violet).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

viola in Culture

viola

[(vee-oh-luh)]

A musical instrument shaped like a violin but somewhat larger, lower pitched, and “darker” in tone. A viola player holds a viola like a violin, under the chin.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.